Technologies of Earthquake Early Warning Systems: Prediction and Prevention

Xinyu Wan


Destructive shaking movements triggered by earthquakes can cause significant losses such as human sacrifice, house damage and property loss. Sichuan earthquake of 2008, happened in southwestern China, caused over 69,000 death and 374,176 injured[1]. It is not just the earthquake itself that is deadly, the subsequent debris flows and plagues deprived more lives. For instance, outbreaks of the Plague of Justinian occur months or even up to a year after high-magnitude earthquakes. Large earthquakes initiate chains of surface and underground processes that last much longer than the brief moments of strong shaking [2]. Earthquake induced geohazards, including landslides in mountainous regions, floods from temporary lakes, plague after major rainfalls, remain a significant threat[2]. Even extreme geohazard like volcanic eruption can be triggered by earthquakes. An apparent question is raised: ‘what if we can predict shaking with previous seconds of warning once an earthquake rupture begins?’. Earthquake early warning (EEW) system shows us the answer, using seismic knowledge and the technology of monitoring systems to alert devices when shaking waves generated by an earthquake appeared (USGS, 2012). Accurate prediction of earthquake can give people more time to prepare for shaking and the geohazard events it triggers. Governments should provide more resources to EEW to reduce earthquake damage to people and property, especially in poor countries where the education about disaster prevention is immature.


Earthquake; Induced Geohazards; EEWs; Reduce Damage

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